Just remember, today is your last chance to vote in the 2008 Weblog Awards. You can vote once per day, so even if you’ve voted before, head on back and do it one more time. Voting ends at:
9a in Sydney (Jan 14)
7a in Tokyo (Jan 14)
10p in London
5p in New York
2p in Los Angeles
12n in Honolulu
My guess is that it’ll be a close race all the way to the end, so make sure you head over and vote for the blog you like best.
Now back to our regularly scheduled programming.
Hallelujah! It’s official. Alitalia is born again. Praise Silvio! Last night, the last “old” Alitalia flight landed and the airline completely shut down for a few hours in order to get some sort of certification change. This morning, Alitalia woke up merged with Air One under the “new” Alitalia name. That means we need a new “worst airline ever.” Yes, that honor will now be bestowed upon . . . the “new” Alitalia. I’m operating under the premise that they are guilty until proven innocent.
And why would I automatically pass it on to the new Alitalia? Well not much is changing yet. Yes, we have a new, smaller Alitalia that now owns Air One as well. The combined airlines will continue to operate separately for now, but they’re beginning to merge pieces together. But most importantly, we still have those oh-so-stubborn unions which are still rattling their sabres, hoping for a miracle to save all their jobs. There’s probably only room for one miracle here, and that’s the fact that Alitalia still exists. Instead, we’ll see protests all day long and maybe even a strike or two considering how things work over there.
Oh, and there is one other big piece of news. Alitalia has now officially chosen Air France as the winner of the ownership lottery. For a mere 323 million euros, Air France gets 25 percent of the airline. Looks like the French have succeeded in stopping the German march southward, sort of. Lufthansa will still start up its Italia subsidiary to fly out of Milan, and they own Air Dolomiti as well so there will be strong competition.
But Air France now gets three out of nineteen (19?!) board seats and Alitalia will remain in Skyteam. Alitalia frequent fliers probably won’t see a big change on that front at all. So now we have a private Alitalia that’s a little smaller, but those are really the only changes so far. Can it really find its way out of last place in the race for worst airline ever? Time will tell, but of course, I highly doubt it.